The Whole HOG: February/March 2014

Water-centric Green Design News

Is resilience the new sustainability?” Jill Fehrenbacher asks in a recent Inhabitat article that has us thinking. Her focus is on steps for making commercial building, particularly in cities on the East and West coasts, more resilient in the face of natural and man-made disasters, such as fire, earthquakes, flooding, and terrorism.

If you’ve been reading along with us here at The HOG Blog, you’ll know that we’ve been following with interest Hurricane Sandy in New York City and the resulting new building and design codes in NYC, along with strategies for dealing with flooding from flood walls to built infrastructure.

Being in the Bay Area makes us particularly sensitive to earthquake danger, as Sally Dominguez notes in a recent interview with Advance. This Australian non-profit has a global network focused on connecting talented Aussies internationally. In May 2012, Sally was nominated as one of Advance’s 50 for the Future.

Resilient design is defined by the Resilient Design Institute as “the intentional design of buildings, landscapes, communities, and regions in response to vulnerabilities to disaster and disruption of normal life”.

The HOG tank is built for both sustainability and resiliency. Made with food-grade plastic, it can double as an 50-gallon emergency water supply, as it does at Edna Maguire Elementary School. In the context of schools (or homes) and safety, the tank’s rectangular shape will prevent it from rolling, loaded with 440-pounds of water, over some unlucky soul in the case of an earthquake.

This edition, it’s confirmed: HOGs and schools make for an award-winning combination. Congratulations to landscape architect Liz Pulver and Town and Garden! Their design of the Rainlab at The Dalton School was recently recognized with a 2014 Merit Award from ASLA-NY.

installation details

If you love to delve into the details, you’ll be in HOG heaven over at our new site!

Preparedness is an element of resiliency too. This February, we’re loading up on resources from estimating your garden’s water needs to easy tips for conserving water to a new website with rainwater case studies. From single tank collection to large-scale harvesting and innovative custom solutions, check out to find out how to configure your own system.

Don’t miss our B.U.G. Design feature on inspirational architect and scientist Ginger Krieg Dosier who’s cutting out the kiln, and the carbon emissions,  from bricks by growing bio bricks with her award-winning company BioMason.

Feb/March 2014: Gardenista Asks the Expert – Tips on Saving Water

Sally Dominguez, HOG co-founder and inventor, recently spilled the dirt to Gardenista on seven water-savvy, people-friendly tips to conserve agua as the California drought continues. Yes,  it’s raining now, but we have a whole lotta water to catch up on to bring our water tables and reservoirs back up!


Sally Dominguez at the former home of David Gottfried, founder of the U.S. Green Building Council. This Oakland Craftsman has 9 HOGs and at the time, the highest LEED certification of any home.

1. Collect water in the shower. Before you turn on the faucet to heat up water to take a shower, place a bucket or pail on the floor to catch running water. Use that bucket to water garden plants.

2. Keep your lawn, but water it with graywater. Drain water from the clothes washer and the shower into a holding tank and recycle it by using it on the lawn.

“Don’t give up your lawn—my take on it is this: when we moved here from Australia, we went to a house for a cocktail party and saw this lush lawn. My kids and I couldn’t believe it. It looked so rich and inviting we all immediately took off our shoes and walked in it. A lawn is a beautiful, emotional thing, like a pool, and it has an emotional value. It makes a garden look beautiful and serene,” says Sally.

3. Collect rainwater—but don’t use it in the garden. “Bring rainwater into the house and use it to wash clothes. Then use the graywater from the laundry in the garden,” says Sally. “That way you cut down on your use of city water, too.”

Want to see more tips? Check out Sally’s Gardenista interview. Also keep your eyes peeled for a laundry to garden gray water kit from Rainwater HOG to debut soon!

Feb/March 2014: Estimate Your Garden’s Seasonal Water Needs

How much water will your garden need this year? This handy guide from Urban Farmer Store (a Bay Area HOG distributor) breaks down the equation for you. Their sample features a 10×10 veggie garden watered with drip irrigation in zone 1. Click here or on the image below to start calculating!

And for the next question: why not install a HOG system to irrigate your garden with captured rainwater!? We’re giving out virtual good citizen awards for conserving water with a drought on…

Feb/March 2014: Rainlab Wins NYC Design Award

waterwall bigdalton waterwallThe Rainlab at the Dalton School received a 2014 Merit Award from The New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA-NY). Congratulations to the landscape architecture firm Town and Garden for their rooftop classroom – with prominently featured HOG tanks! – that  ASLA-NY recognizes for “us[ing] rainwater and other sustainable elements to provide an innovative way to integrate elements of motor skills, learning and pure play.”

You may remember the Dalton School Rainlab from prior posts–it’s one of our favorites!

Feb/March 2014: B.U.G. (Beautiful.Useful.Green) Design

     bio bricks from bioMason, Inc.

Ginger Krieg Dosier, former architect and now scientist, is on her way to revolutionizing our aging manufacturing processes with biology, using what she once considered to be the lowest common denominator in construction – the brick.


– bioMason grows bricks –
image via Siddharth Siva

Why is it beautiful? “Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated with the act of making,” says Krieg Dosier in a TED talk. Many of us don’t think of a brick as a thing of beauty, but what if that brick was grown in a closed-loop system that eliminated all emissions from its manufacturing process? Using sand and bacteria, Dosier’s company bioMason does just that – using a ‘brick nursery’ to grow bio-cement material without carbon emissions.

Why is it useful? BioMason’s better, cleaner, and more sustainable bricks have the potential to clean up the building blocks of construction. Flush with the “huge encouragement” of award-winnings (Metropolis Mag’s 2010 Next Generation design competition and Denmark’s Postcard Lottery’s 2013 Green Challenge), Krieg Dosier is at work with teams in the USA and the United Arab Emirates on scaling up the manufacturing process.

Why is it green? Bricks are used in 80% of global construction — 1.23 trillion bricks are produced annually worldwide; the firing process releases 800 million tons of carbon pollution each year. That’s more than what is released by all the airplanes in the world every year. Krieg Dosier’s transformative idea uses principles of biomimicry to apply nature to the way we make our physical world. Her planet-saving solution uses chemistry, biology and materials science to grow bricks like one would grow plants in a greenhouse.

Visit Sally’s Blog for more B.U.G. Designs.

The Whole HOG: January 2014

Water-centric Green Design News

Welcome to 2014, HOG enthusiasts! But before we go too far, let’s look back at the highlights of 2013. This year more than ever the importance of rainwater harvesting hits home for us. We’re experiencing a historic drought in California that has left our fields dry, our reservoirs low, and our water in short supply. NASA satellite images show a barren landscape, and Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency. All the more incentive to use HOG tanks – for us, too! Our marketing manager and HOG writer Mattie Ivy is stepping up to Marin County’s recommended 20% water use reduction. Stay tuned for her video adventures in setting up a HOG system of her own.

In the meantime, catch up on a cool catchment system in Maui that transforms air conditioner drip to garden gold. HOG co-founder and designer, Sally Dominguez, is teaching a continuing studies course at Stanford. We pull up a seat in the Insights and Tools for Creative Thinking classroom for our B.U.G. feature.

January 2014: Year in Review

2013 in Review

Thank you for helping make 2013 an eventful and productive year for us at Rainwater HOG! From magazine-worthy green home renovations to a clever green roof irrigation system for a home in the Chicago suburbs, and from a school garden in New Jersey to our inclusion in TEAM ASUNM’s SHADE Home design at the Solar Decathlon 2013, we’ve had an exciting year!

HOG 2013 in review

“The Rainwater HOG makes it easy to commit to a lifestyle of rationalized use and conservation. The system boasts negligible costs, simple technology, and immediate results.
-Beverly Maloney-Fischback, CEO, Founder and Publisher of Organic Spa Magazine

The HOGs are a great product and a very clever design. With only a narrow gap along the side of my house which would have otherwise been unable, the installation of the tanks there has been of real benefit. The post-sale care and service of the HOG team has been fantastic and I could not be happier with this product.
– Ian Goff,  homeowner Sydney, Australia

I was looking for a system that would be able to sit as flat against the wall as possible, which could easily form and array and where the integrity of the connectors was paramount.

– Michael Ruehle, GREENHeart Builders, Inc. on why he chose HOG tanks for the Brietzke install

“This is an awesome addition to our school garden!”
– Jack Griffith, Egg Harbor City Community School (EHCCS) principal, on two Rainwater HOG tanks for the edible school garden.